The Philosophies of Men, Mingled with Humor
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Combining elements of Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism with concepts dealing with self discipline, motivation and the power of positive thinking, James Allen's 1910 inspirational book Above Life's Turmoil is a pioneering work in self-help literature. One of the factors that makes the book appealing is that it doesn't purport to be a magic formula that will help you to get whatever you want. Instead, it aims to give the reader self knowledge and self conquest which will ultimately lead to inner peace in a turbulent world. This is something that every modern day reader will certainly appreciate, since a lot of books promise to show you how to create wealth, achieve success, find your dream partner and so on, without tackling the core issue of attaining inner calmness. Above Life's Turmoil is divided into a compilation of very brief twenty-one chapters, including a foreword by the author. Some of the topics covered include True Happiness, The Overcoming of Self, The Uses of Temptation, Sowing and Reaping, Your Mental Attitude, Universal Brotherhood and others. Allen uses concepts like affirmation and examines different perspectives to explain his ideas. However, readers looking for a typical “How To” book will not find that here. Above Life's Turmoil adopts more of a meditative, philosophical tone that readers can reflect on and study at leisure for the best results. James Allen was born in a working class family in England in the early 20th century. His mother was illiterate and his father was a factory worker. Following the tragic and mysterious death of his father, Allen left school and went to work as a stationer and private secretary in several manufacturing firms. Later he found employment as a journalist and soon began to develop an interest in spiritual matters. His first book, From Poverty to Power was published in 1901 and he set up a magazine dealing with spiritual themes in the same year. A year later, he published As Man Thinketh, his most famous book, which deals with the concept of retribution or karma and the natural laws of action and reaction in the spiritual world. James Allen went on to write nearly 20 books on similar themes and his wife continued to publish several of his manuscripts posthumously after his death at the young age of 48. One of the factors that makes Above Life's Turmoil and others by Allen appealing is that the message he wants to convey is very simple and sincere. An interesting and rewarding read for seekers of spiritual solace though it may not offer any practical solutions.